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Lady Spartan soccer

drawing on experience
Solon’s Megan Tucker boots the ball during a match against Mount Vernon in April of 2017. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– In his 14th year as the Lady Spartans’ Soccer Coach, John Tucker passes his head through the tether for his whistle, knowing he is not rebuilding this season.
“Not really rebuilding… We have a strong program. We are just looking for the players to step up,” he said.
It is a strong program if last season is any reflection. With an 11-8 team record during the 2016-17 season, Solon scored 95 goals on 305 shots; recorded 42 assists; and only gave up 43 goals, a 2.39 average per game, boasting 157 total saves, a save percentage of 78.5 percent.
“We lost Josie (Durr) and six other seniors last year,” Coach Tucker pointed out.
Lost to graduation, Durr was responsible for 62 of the Lady Spartans’ 95 goals and eight of the team’s assists playing in 16 games, Tara Lance competed in 18 games recording five goals and five assists, Paige Gallagher was responsible for a goal in 19 games, and Erin Capper scored three goals in 16 games.
Asked about returning letter winners he was looking to, Tucker was quick to provide four names: Megan Tucker, Brianna Smith, Taylor Noonan and Chandler DeWitt.
“Megan Tucker – senior leadership, team leader for assists the last two years. Solid player defensively and great in transition,” Coach Tucker assessed. “Brianna Smith – senior leadership, an injury will take her out of the goal and on to the field. Taylor Noonan - good on offense and in the midfield. Looking for her to step up as a leader this year. (And,) Chandler Dewitt - solid defensively. Looking for her to step up even more this year to help out the defense.”
Last season, Tucker recorded a goal and 14 assists in 19 games, Smith was the goalie last season and recorded two assists along with 115 of the Lady Spartans saves (averaging an 83.3 percent save percentage) in 16 games, Noonan was responsible for two assists in 19 games, and Dewitt played in 18 games.
With the season nearing, Coach Tucker is assessing his options and the team is recording the preparatory hours.
“We have a lot of seniors and a pretty deep bench, even with losing all those seniors last year,” he said. “I am expecting if we play well together, and play like I know we can, we will be successful this year.”
The Lady Spartans host West Liberty at home Monday, April 2, at 5:30 p.m.; travel to Muscatine on Thursday, April 5, for a 5:30 p.m. game at Muscatine High School; host South Tama at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6; on Tuesday, April 10, they visit Marion High School at 4:15 p.m.; Friday, April 13, they host Beckman Catholic at 5:30 p.m. then bookend the weekend hosting West Delaware at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16. The ladies hit the road Friday, April 20, for a 5 p.m. game at Anamosa High School; Saturday, April 21, the Spartans host their Mehaffey Bridge Road neighbor Iowa City Liberty High at 10 a.m.; Tuesday, April 24, the ladies load the bus and travel to Western Dubuque High School in Epworth for a 5:15 p.m. game; Friday, April 27, at 4:30 p.m. the Lady Spartans have a game in Mount Vernon at the MV First Street Building; a visit to Maquoketa High School is slated for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1; Friday, May 4, Spartan Stadium will be the site of the game with Central DeWitt at 5:30 p.m.; Friday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m. the Lady Spartans host Vinton-Shellsburg; and the ladies travel to the Waverly Shell Rock High School Soccer Complex to participate in a tournament with 17 other teams starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12. The final two regular season games are road competitions against Williamsburg High School on Tuesday, May 15, with a start time of 5:30 p.m. and then it is a visit to Highway 1 nemesis Iowa City Regina at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22.